Objective: To evaluate associations between poultry processing work and respiratory health among working Latino men and women in North Carolina.
Methods: Between May 2009 and November 2010, 402 poultry processing workers and 339 workers in a comparison population completed interviewer-administered questionnaires. Of these participants, 279 poultry processing workers and 222 workers in the comparison population also completed spirometry testing to provide measurements of forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity.
Results: Nine percent of poultry processing workers and 10% of workers in the comparison population reported current asthma. Relative to the comparison population, adjusted mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity were lower in the poultry processing population, particularly among men who reported sanitation job activities.
Conclusions: Despite the low prevalence of respiratory symptoms reported, poultry processing work may affect lung function.